Steyr to Slovakia - A journey report by Grant Serpell

Dear Everyone
Katrin asked me to write about our last trip to Bad Segeberg. Unfortunately, I was very busy at the time so I let her down. However, our concerts on 27th and 28th June were rather more interesting and maybe warrant a small report.
The trip started in a routine way with a flight to Vienna, but things began to go wrong when we were met by a man who spoke no English with a car that would hold us, but not our baggage.
Grant Serpell
After much sign language and mime we managed to get a van and driver to take the gear. Mark, our engineer, kindly offered to accompany the gear and off we set for Steyr.
Well, not really. We had to brave the traffic of Ring and Gurtel etc to pick up the representative of our agent.
This only took one and a half hours so now we were on our way with six people in a small Opel (I believe was the "Fruit").
The driver had a unique style which included much use of his mobile phone and the ability to steer at 145 kph with just two fingers resting lightly on the wheel. I politely asked if he minded holding onto the steering wheel, which he did, but then decided to drive faster.
Henry asked him to slow down so he now limited his performance to the inside and middle lane where he tried to force any innocent offenders out of his way by driving very close to them. The high spot of his repertoire in this part of the journey was to use his mobile while we were about two metres behind a Feurwehr vehicle.
We survived the motorway and then he came up with his "piece de resistance" by changing down to overtake while using his mobile -- I can  only guess at what piece of his anatomy he was steering with.
We at last reached Steyr and immediately requested that we never see this man again.
We related the events to Mark, who was in the other vehicle, expecting him to exude sympathy for us. Not the case -- his driver, in the midst of a thunderstorm, missed the exit for Steyr but still tried to turn off, resulting in the van travelling sideways along the motorway for about 200 metres. Afterwards he told Mark that everything was OK as his God protected him -- he failed to mention who was meant to protect Mark!
Great hotel, great crew, great gig -- about 3000 people for a town festival.
We played for 85 minutes -- our second longest ever and thoroughly enjoyed it.
On Saturday we drove to Slovakia with strict instructions not to excede 120 kph.
Great hotel again in Piestany, right next to a river, so I went fish spotting and saw a local man catch a bream and I also saw some large barbel. -- I know this is of no interest to you so I will spare you any info about the golf course on the other side of the river.
The gig was about 20 minutes away and was called Topfest. This was a typical rock festival with 20,000 young Slovakians.
In the dressing room there was a sheet showing who was playing. It did not mention us but did show that SLAYER were playing.
At this point I must point out that about 4 1/2 years ago we were booked to play in Salzburg but the gig was cancelled.  As it is such a lovely city we went anyway and while walking around the city saw a poster for the cancelled show. The interesting and relevant point is that we were billed as SLAYER, a band in a slightly different part of the musical spectrum.
Due to this previous experience I had a sudden dread that we were to perform to 20,000 people who were expecting to see Slayer and not SAILOR.
I quickly found the promoter who assured me that they had played on the previous night and that the festival included many types of band.
Anyway the gig was really great. A good reception and we played for just over an hour.
If my language skills had been more sophisticated I would love to have asked how 16 year old Slovakians react to a 64 year old man pretending to do a striptease.
On second thoughts, maybe I wouldn't.
We celebrated what we felt was a successful trip back at the hotel.
I was poured a glass of red and when I tasted it I thought that Mark had swapped it for a Jack Daniels and Coke as it tasted so weird; but no, it was the red wine from the dressing room.
Our best wishes to all our loyal fans out there in SAILORland. Hope to see you all soon at a gig.
Grant Serpell (Schlagzeuger)

SAILOR on stage in Steyr (Austria) 27 June 2008

SAILOR on stage in Bratislava (Slovakia) 28 June 2008


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